Originally Posted by SDW2001
The problem with this post is the same as Paul's statements and positions: There are elements of truth to it. Is the military-industrial complex too large and too influential? Yes. Do we get involved in too many things militarily? Yes. Do we need to restructure and reduce our oversees footprint? Yes. Do we stoke anti-Americanism with certain actions? Yes.
The size and reach of the (US) military industrial complex in relation to the US economy as a whole is a problem of disproportion that is way beyond solution. Since WWII (courtesy of the USSR threat, both the real and imaginary components), we have piled so much emphasis on "defense", "security" and related war products that in order to sustain some justification on the part of the public perception, this sector has had to be actively and perpetually engaged.
When the Communist Bloc self-imploded around 1990, the US was left high and dry, with a defense capability geared to taking on an "aggressive global superpower", which in a matter of weeks became an unsellable threat as they abandoned communism. We were all "dressed up, with nowhere to go". This was a problem: the defense sector needed
a replacement that was equal in threat-stature to Hitler/Japan, or the USSR.
The US response to the changed geopolitical situation could have fallen anywhere in a spectrum with the two extremes: (a) Scaling down the US defense sector to be in proportion the reduced threat, all the way to (b) Maintaining or even accelerating the pace of growth of the defense sector.
Option (a) was a no go for politicians at state and federal levels, regardless of political leanings. So many jobs and businesses and communities throughout the country depend on the military industrial complex and related goods and services. Scaling back to this extent, cutting defense spending etc. etc. would have caused an economic melt-down, bankrupting countless businesses, throwing millions of people out of work, and trashing our trade balance.
As we all know, Option (b) was the way to go, for all of our sakes, like it or not. It just required the defense sector finding "somewhere to hang its hat" in order to maintain the public trust and justification for such astronomical expenditure.
But that's where the wheels come off. Our own security would be dramatically affected in the short and long term by drastic military cuts, bringing all the troops home, by closing our foreign bases and by following the non-aggression principle.
If it were possible to scale down overseas military reach, it would have be done very slowly and gradually... perhaps starting with Western Europe?
The world would burn, and it would bite us in the butt eventually. Terrorists would not stop targeting America and Americans.
Really? According to many historians, terrorists have targeted America and American interests on account of the complete opposite of what you are suggesting... ie US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia, for example.
Iran would not halt it's nuclear ambitions, nor would North Korea.
What is potentially more dangerous? A nuclear capable, but relatively stable Iran, or an Iran transformed into chaos through war, millions of angry young men, and the entire Islamic world alongside, enraged, yet again, with America, the West (and Israel?).
More people would go hungry without our foreign aide.
Is that a valid parameter in the world of realpolitik?
Russia would grow in power and influence. All of things are bad, and all would happen while we sat there and watched.
Russia is already growing in power and influence, after being broke and overrun with organized crime. Russia's recovery will happen regardless.
The bottom line is the world is better with our influence, as is our own security. That's what Ron Paul his supporters don't get.
"Our influence".... there is the $multi-trillion issue. What kind of influence should the US have in the world? Respecting us for our strength and our commitment to rights and freedom? Or fearing us and hating us? Our image in the world is moving relentlessly from former to the latter, and as mentioned in the first paragraphs, we have no choice.
It's a done deal.... the "horse bolted the stable" decades ago and he's now a bleached skeleton somewhere in a distant creek bed. The only course open to us, to maintain a stable America, is a form of velvet-gloved totalitarianism. Thankfully, we are a huge country and its physical size will mitigate the effects of such on the public, perhaps to the extent that for many in rural and sparsely populated areas, life will go on pretty much as normal.